Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Away We Go (2009)

This was a movie my wife read about. I went in with basically no expectations, which probably wound up making it more enjoyable. “Away We Go” is directed by Sam Mendes, director of “American Beauty,” which I consider to be a crappy film with really good direction and some good acting, so I didn’t know what to expect.

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph play a couple with a bun 6 months in the oven. She is an orphan, and his parents decide to move to Belgium right before the baby is due. Since they both work from home, they find themselves suddenly without any reason to continue living in their crappy trailer in a place they hate. They hit the road to visit friends and family in a few locations across the continent, in hopes of finding a better place to start over and raise their child. They start out thinking that their life is really kind of screwed up, but along the way they come to realize how lucky they really are, and blah, blah, blah. The premise is really a bit trite, but somehow “Away We Go” transcends the sentimentality to be a genuinely funny, entertaining little film. Krasinki and Rudolph turn in very likable, genuine performances, and Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney, and Maggie Gyllenhaal bring the funny with some hilariously over-the-top craziness in small roles.

“Away We Go” plays like a Sundance movie, and it mostly works because it doesn’t overreach, which is a surprise coming from the guy who directed the intense “Road to Perdition“ and the too-big-for-its-britches “American Beauty.” I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to see “Away We Go,” but it’s a funny, entertaining little film that will make you smile.

2.5 stars out of 5

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